Health Lasagna

In the Jim Davis comic strip, Garfield the cat calls lasagna “the world’s most perfect food.” But this week, Martha Rose Shulman has improved on perfection, offering a delicious array of lasagna recipes made with various roasted vegetables. The result is a lighter but still luxurious vegetarian lasagna that is just right for summer dining. She writes:

Roasting brings a rich dimension to all sorts of vegetables. I’d never thought of roasting broccoli, for instance, but now I’ll be roasting that vegetable as often as I steam it, for sure.

I had something very specific in mind for my roasted vegetables. I thought they’d make a great layer in a vegetarian lasagna, and I was right. You may think of lasagna as a rich, heavy dish, but it needn’t be. There’s no need to compensate for the absence of a traditional Bolognese sauce by packing these casseroles with pounds of ricotta and grated cheese. Some of each of those elements is welcome, but I cut the usual amounts by half in this week’s recipes, and they’re plenty satisfying.

You can get ahead on lasagna by making up big batches of marinara sauce and freezing it, or in a pinch use a good commercial brand. The noodles are no-boil, which really makes these lasagnas easy to assemble. They make great one-dish meals, and I think they’re very kid-friendly. They can be made ahead and reheated (I’m pulling the leftovers of this week’s recipe tests out of my refrigerator and feeding them to a group of hungry teenagers after a school concert tonight), or frozen.

Here are five new vegetarian lasagna dishes made with roasted summer vegetables.

Lasagna With Steamed Spinach and Roasted Zucchini: Roasting the zucchini adds a welcome layer of flavor.

Lasagna With Roasted Eggplant, Mushrooms and Carrots: Loaded with vegetables, this satisfying dish is full of textures and flavors.

Lasagna With Roasted Beets and Herb Béchamel: This delicate lasagna turns pink as the beets mingle with the white sauce.

Lasagna With Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: Be warned: You may find it hard not to eat the zesty browned cauliflower before you get this lasagna built.

Lasagna With Roasted Broccoli: Slices of broccoli are browned in the oven before taking their place in this savory one-dish meal.